By Rafael Díaz
On June 8, 2013 the solo show entitled Soñador y Soñadores was introduced in the 2BLEÓ workshop. This proposal, presented by Omar Obdulio Peña Forty (presenting artist and 2BLEÓ’s owner) was composed of a series of 7 drawings, 2 installations, a series of 5 portraits in acrylic and another acrylic piece that helped sustain the exhibition’s purpose. OOPF said that exploration between his two vocations (barber shop and the visual arts) led him to experiment with new mediums and techniques in both fields. His first exploration was using paper and hair as lines, with which he drew with and even made portraits out of them. Then he emphasized into the problem of the barbershop and identified what later would become his new creative research, the fringes (refining of the hair’s edges).
According to OOPF, fringes have pronounced visual connotations, sometimes resting on signs (for better or worse) between sectors/segments of society, a kind of attribute that identifies you with a particular part of the population. From here comes his next nine years worth of creations, inspiration and artistic commentary. OOPF argued that Soñador y soñadores responds to the immediacy that lurks the social crisis in our country, and in a way, it raises an easier understanding for the sectors that appeal. This argument is completely accurate, because the sample reflects a mastery of the subject and an understanding to the medium being used - both art itself and the barbershop- who converse naturally and accurately set forththe question that rests upon them.
The gallery is a space for reflection, thought, analysis, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous conversations, but always inviting you to contribute. The same thing happens at the barbershop. This space tends to be one of many conversations and lots of interaction. It is a place where it is okay to share your opinion, whether serious or humorous, without having to face the constant judgment of the outside world. 2BLEÓ’s show was certainly a delight. Illustrations have always characterized OOPF and his installations were top-notch. OOPF has been recognized and awarded twice by the International Art Critics Association. He has also been the 1st price winner of the Lexus with the Arts Fellowship in 2011, as well as being recognized in the Youth Art Contest Oriental Group and being invited to participate in multiple group exhibitions and biennials in Puerto Rico, Latin America, USA and Europe. Evidently, he is one of the great prospects in Puerto Rican art. We wish Omar Obdulio Peña Forty great success in his career and his new project 2BLEÓ. Congratulations!